While The Wharf House has been pulling in discerning local foodies and county tourists for almost a decade, afternoon tea is a recent addition to its culinary repertoire – a great excuse to return to one of our favourite local independent restaurants if there ever was one.
Blessed with a rare spate of glorious spring sunshine we took a table on the restaurant’s pretty terrace, which was bursting with plants and spring blossom, with picturesque views over the River Severn and towards the restored Over Canal Basin.
Streaming hot pots of English breakfast and Earl Grey tea arrived within minutes of being seated, before we poured our choice of brews into gleaming white Villeroy & Boch bone porcelain cups. The carefully considered touches didn’t stop there, and a literal ‘ooh’ was heard as the impressive triangular three-tiered cake stand was paraded over – decked out with all sorts of tasty treats.
Dainty sandwiches with melt in your mouth smoked salmon, free range egg mayonnaise and mature cheddar cheese with thin slices of tangy tomato were the stars of the savoury show. My only complaint was that there weren’t a couple more as I impatiently eyed up the cakes as my partner raced to keep up.
The cakes were, as you’d hope, the true afternoon tea highlight, baked in-house by The Wharf House’s skilled team and, like everything else, made using ingredients from super local suppliers wherever possible. The plump lemon drizzle cake was a moist, zesty and delicious offering, while the carrot cake, topped with a cute miniature royal icing carrot, was another delight.
On the next tier were some of the best freshly-baked scones I’ve tasted, ever. And we later learned the staff had been battling it out in a scone bake-off to perfect this afternoon tea staple, eventually ending up with four different varieties for afternoon tea customers to try. Each laden with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam, they were equally as good, but the almond variety was the one I’m still dreaming about.
Having devoured more than my fair share of sweet treats, I was rather full by the time we approached the top tier finale, but was pleased I’d soldiered on, digging into an oversized shot glass laden with delicate chocolate mousse, topped with buttery shortbread and giving way to delicious salted caramel. A perfect end to a pretty perfect afternoon tea.
With the British summer on the horizon, The Wharf House’s timing for its new menu addition couldn’t be better. With homemade and skilfully prepared food, a unique waterside setting and warm service, an afternoon tea expedition to The Wharf House is one we’d heartily recommend.
By James Fyrne
Monday 11 May 2015
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